Disney+ is launching November 12, 2019, in a few regions, with more coming online later. But what is Disney+? Here's what you need to know about the content, apps, picture/audio quality, the plus, and the rest.
What is Disney+?
Disney+ will start streaming on November 12, 2019, in the US, Canada and Netherlands, and one week later in Australia and New Zealand. On March 31, 2020, Disney+ is coming to the UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain and other countries in Western Europe. It will roll out in Eastern Europe and Latin America from late 2020.
Disney CEO Bob Iger has called Disney+ "the most important product our company has launched in a long time" and if you examine Netflix's growth trajectory you can understand why. The theatrical business is quickly becoming small relative to the streaming market, so with Disney+ the company is entering the direct-to-consumer streaming market in earnest. Think Netflix, but with Disney's content.
It's called Disney+ for a reason. Over the last few decades, Disney has morphed into something much bigger. It has acquired Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm (Star Wars) and most recently 21st Century Fox, including 20th Century Fox and National Geographic. Once you sign up, you will immediately notice that Disney+ is built on these five pillars. It is Disney plus a whole lot more.
With a subscription plan ($7/month in the US, €7/month in Europe), you have access to the full library, including movies, TV series, documentaries, and the entire Disney Vault comprising all classics. At least that's the ambition, the company says. At launch, some titles will be missing due to content rights and deals that have yet to expire. Disney tells us to expect content rated PG-13 and below. In other words; it's a family friendly streaming service. Everything above PG-13 will be reserved for Hulu, which is now also owned by Disney.
The five pillars of Disney+:
Disney: New and classic Disney movies, including all titles from the Disney Vault.
Pixar: Movies like Finding Nemo, Monsters Inc and Coco from the acclaimed Pixar studio, co-founded by Steve Jobs and acquired by Disney in 2006. With the launch of Disney+, Pixar will start producing TV series.
Marvel: Movies and TV series based in the Marvel superhero universe. New Marvel TV series will stream exclusively on Disney+.
Star Wars: All Star Wars movies. In addition, Disney will start producing the first TV series (such as The Mandalorian) based in the Star Wars universe.
National Geographic: Documentaries and more.
That's a very brief overview. Disney says that you can also expect to find some Fox content, including The Simpsons.
What's not included? You will not find content unsuitable for kids or live content in any form. Some titles may not be available at launch since current content deals will have to expire first. The Disney+ library will also differ from one region to the next. Disney originals such as The Mandalorian will be available in all regions, just like Netflix's originals on Netflix.
So what about theatrical movies? Disney will continue to respect the theatrical window, meaning that its biggest movies will debut in theaters first. They will not appear on Disney+ until months later. How long it takes for a movie to flow from theater to Disney+, will depend on the length of the theatrical window in your country. In some regions, it may take up to 9 months. On the other hand some movies such the remake of The Lady and the Tramp will bypass theaters completely and come straight to Disney+.
Disney+ is ad-free.
Recent theatrical releases
Disney+ will serve as the exclusive streaming home of The Walt Disney Studios’ blockbuster films beginning in 2019 including:
Captain Marvel Dumbo Avengers: Endgame Aladdin Toy Story 4 The Lion King Maleficent: Mistress of Evil Frozen II Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
Disney+ Originals - Live Action Series
High School Musical: The Musical: The Series - The 10-episode scripted series, set at the real-life East High, where the original movie was filmed, follows a group of students as they countdown to opening night of their school's first-ever production of “High School Musical.” With meta references and some docu-style elements, it’s a modern take on the “classic” from 15 years ago. Show-mances blossom; friendships are tested, while new ones are made; rivalries flare; songs are sung; and lives are changed forever as these young people discover the transformative power that only high school theater can provide. When: Available at launch
The Mandalorian - The first ever live-action Star Wars series, is written and executive-produced by Emmy-nominated producer and actor Jon Favreau, with Dave Filoni (“Star Wars: The Clone Wars”) directing the first episode. The highly anticipated series features an all-star cast including Pedro Pascal, Gina Carano, Carl Weathers, Giancarlo Esposito, Emily Swallow, Omid Abtahi, Werner Herzog and Nick Nolte. Set after the fall of the Empire and before the emergence of the First Order, the series follows a lone gunfighter in the outer reaches of the galaxy far from the authority of the New Republic. When: Available at launch
Diary of a Female President - Told from the narration of her diary, the series follows a Cuban-American 12-year-old girl as she navigates the ups and downs of middle school and her journey to becoming the future president of the United States. Gina Rodriguez (“Jane the Virgin”) and Emily Gipson (“I Can and I Will”) will executive produce along with Ilana Peńa (“Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”). When: Year One
The Falcon and The Winter Soldier - Anthony Mackie will return as Falcon and Sebastian Stan will reprise his role as Winter Soldier in the new Marvel Studios series. When: Year One
Loki - Tom Hiddleston will reprise his role as Loki in the new Marvel Studios series. When: Year Two
Untitled Cassian Andor Series - Diego Luna will reprise his role of rebel spy Cassian Andor in this series set during the formative years of the Rebellion prior to the events of “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.” The rousing spy thriller will explore tales filled with espionage and daring missions to restore hope to a galaxy in the grip of a ruthless Empire. Alan Tudyk will also reprise his role as K-2SO with Stephen Schiff (“The Americans”) as showrunner and executive producer. When: Year Two
WandaVision - Elizabeth Olsen will return as Wanda Maximoff and Paul Bettany will reprise his role as The Vision in the new Marvel Studios series. When: Year Two
Disney+ Originals - Animated Series & Shorts
Forky Asks a Question - Forky, from Disney and Pixar’s “Toy Story 4,” is a craft project created from trash, so he has important questions about how the world works, such as: What is love? What is time? And of course, the deepest question of all, What is cheese? He explores all of these questions and more in a series of 10 shorts. When: Available at launch
SparkShorts - Disney+ will be the exclusive home of “SparkShorts,” the Pixar Animation Studios short film series designed to discover new storytellers and explore new storytelling techniques from across the studio. When: Available at launch
Lamp Life - Bo Peep makes a big comeback in Disney and Pixar’s “Toy Story 4” and she leads the way in the all-new animated short film, finally answering the questions about where Bo was since we last we saw her in “Toy Story 2.” When: Year One
Monsters at Work - Inspired by the characters of Pixar’s “Monsters, Inc.,” the animated series from Disney Television Animation picks up six months after the events of “Monsters, Inc.” and follows Tylor Tuskmon, an eager and talented young mechanic who works on the Monsters Inc. facilities team but dreams of working his way up to the Laugh Floor. Returning cast members Billy Crystal, John Goodman, John Ratzenberger, Bob Peterson and Jennifer Tilly will join new cast members Ben Feldman, Kelly Marie Tran, Henry Winkler, Lucas Neff, Alanna Ubach and Stephen Stanton. When: Year One
Star Wars: The Clone Wars - The Emmy award-winning animated series will be returning with twelve all-new episodes exclusively on Disney+. This will mark the return of classic characters Anakin Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Padmé Amidala, as well as fan-favorites Ahsoka Tano and Captain Rex. When: Year One
Marvel’s What If...? - Marvel Studios' first animated series, taking inspiration from the comic books of the same name. Each episode will explore a pivotal moment from the Marvel Cinematic Universe and turn it on its head, leading the audience into uncharted territory. When: Year One
Disney+ Originals - Documentaries, Unscripted Series & Live Specials
Encore! - Executive producer Kristen Bell brings together former castmates of a high school musical, tasking them with re-creating their original performance in a high school reunion like no other. Emotions run high as the former students face faded friendships, former flames, self-doubt, and killer choreography. Through it all, these unlikely groups of friends—with the help of Broadway’s best—just might pull off a standing-ovation-worthy performance of beloved musicals like “The Sound of Music,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “Annie” and more. When: Available at launch
Untitled Walt Disney Imagineering Documentary Series - The documentary series chronicles the 65+ year history of Walt Disney Imagineering with parallel storylines of the people, the craft, and the business. Created by Academy Award and Emmy nominated director and producer Leslie Iwerks, series includes exclusive interviews and never-before-seen footage from Disney’s parks around the world. When: Available at launch
Marvel’s Hero Project - The series, produced by Marvel New Media in partnership with MaggieVision Productions, reveals the remarkable, positive change several young heroes are making in their own communities. These young heroes have dedicated their lives to selfless acts of bravery and kindness, and now, Marvel celebrates them as the true Super Heroes they are. When: Available at launch
The World According to Jeff Goldblum - Through the prism of Jeff Goldblum’s always inquisitive and highly entertaining mind, nothing is as it seems in this new series. Each episode is centered around something we all love – like sneakers or ice cream – as Jeff pulls the thread on these deceptively familiar objects and unravels a wonderful world of astonishing connections, fascinating science and history, amazing people, and a whole lot of surprising big ideas and insights. When: Available at launch
Be Our Chef - What if your family had the chance to create the next great Disney Parks dish? Hosted by Angela Kinsey, Be Our Chef invites families from diverse backgrounds to join a Disney-inspired cooking competition at Walt Disney World that is positive and playful in tone. In each episode, two families will participate in a themed challenge based on their family traditions and the magic of Disney. The finalists will apply what they have learned to create a dish that represents their family through a Disney lens. When: Year One
Cinema Relics: Iconic Art of the Movies (working title) - Cinema Relics is an anthology series that takes a unique look at beloved films through the props & costumes (now modern ‘artifacts’) that made them unique - from the craftspeople who created them, the actors who interacted with them, and the collectors / archives who own and cherish them. The show will be hosted by film historian/collector Dan Lanigan. Among the films featured in the first eight episodes are “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl,” “Mary Poppins,” “The Muppet Movie,” “Tron” and “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?” CINEMA RELICS is produced by ABC Studios, Alternative and executive produced by Jason Henry and Dan Lanigan. When: Year One
Into the Unknown: Making Frozen 2 - As never before in its near-century long history, Walt Disney Animation Studios is opening its doors, allowing cameras to capture in intimate detail how the voice cast, directors, and team of artists come together to create “Frozen 2.” This multi-episode documentary series shows the hard work, imagination, heart, fun and intensity that go into making one of the most highly-anticipated Disney Animation features of all time. When: Year One
Magic of Animal Kingdom - In the heart of Central Florida, a team of more than 1,000 highly respected animal-care experts, veterinarians and biologists perform groundbreaking work at Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park and Epcot’s SeaBase aquarium. Now for the first time, National Geographic will offer viewers an all-access pass into the 24/7 world of the incredible animal caretakers running one of the most advanced veterinary facilities in the world. When: Year One
Marvel’s 616 - An anthological documentary series from Marvel New Media in partnership with Supper Club that explores the intersection between Marvel’s rich legacy of stories, characters and creators and the world outside your window. Each documentary will dive into the rich historical, cultural and societal context that has become inseparable from stories of the Marvel Universe. When: Year One
(Re)Connect - In each episode of (Re)Connect, a family will disconnect from their busy lives, devices and outside influences in order to address a relatable issue that’s driving a wedge between them. With the help of a specialized expert, each family will go on a unique journey to confront the family’s dilemma head on. Can they finally come together as a family to overcome their obstacles...and reconnect? When: Year One
Rogue Trip - Renowned journalist Bob Woodruff travels the world with his 27-year old son, Mack, and visits all of the places your average tourist is least likely to venture – the roguish, often misunderstood and frequently overlooked corners of the world whose hidden corners surprise, amaze and inspire. This is the family vacation most of us are least likely to take. When: Year One
Shop Class (working title) - A new competition series featuring teams of inventive students, who are tasked with designing, building, and testing new contraptions. In each episode a panel of experts will rate their work based on engineering, design, and the final test of the build. In the final episode one team will be named Shop Class Champs. When: Year One
Earthkeepers (working title) - From the award-winning creators of “Chef's Table” and the producers of “One Lucky Elephant,” “Earthkeepers” is a cinematic documentary series that enters the adventurous lives of the people changing the way we see the animal kingdom. The episodes focus on conservationists and the animals they’ve devoted their careers to studying, diving deep into the personal trials and professional breakthroughs of protecting the planet’s most endangered species. Executive Produced by Jason Sterman, Brian McGinn and David Gelb for Supper Club and Cristina Colissimo and Jordana Glick-Franzheim for Wellworth Pictures. When: Year Two
Ink & Paint - The documentary series, based on the book of the same name, tells the story of Animation at Disney, and how an unsung workforce of trailblazing women helped create some of the greatest animated films of all time. When: Year Two
Disney+ Originals - Films
Lady & The Tramp - A timeless re-telling of the 1955 animated classic about a prim and proper house dog and a tough but lovable stray who embark on a series of adventures and, despite their different upbringings, grow closer and come to understand the true meaning of “home.” Starring Tessa Thompson (voice of Lady) and Justin Theroux (voice of Tramp), Kiersey Clemons (Darling), Thomas Mann (Jim Dear), Janelle Monae (voice of Peg), Yvette Nicole Brown (Aunt Sarah) and Sam Elliot (voice of Trusty). When: Available at launch
Noelle - Nick Kringle (Bill Hader) is first in line to become Santa Claus, but he struggles at every step of the way. His younger sister Noelle (Anna Kendrick) enjoys all the perks of being a Kringle without any of the expectations or responsibility. As the holiday draws near, the pressures of being Santa become all too much for Nick, who disappears just weeks before the big day. Now it’s up to Noelle to scour the globe to find him, bring him home, and save the Christmas season. Cast also includes Kingsley Ben-Adir, Billy Eichner, Julie Hagerty and Shirley MacLaine. When: Year One
The Phineas and Ferb Movie (working title) - Stepbrothers Phineas and Ferb, their older sister Candace, Perry the Platypus and the Danville gang will reach a new pinnacle -- Disney's direct-to-consumer streaming service -- when they are back together again in The Phineas and Ferb Movie, an animated adventure in production now. The movie, executive-produced by Dan Povenmire and Jeff "Swampy" Marsh (creators and executive producers of the long-running Emmy Award-winning series "Phineas and Ferb"), centers on Phineas and Ferb as they set out across the galaxy to rescue Candace who has been abducted by aliens and has found utopia in a far-off planet, free of pesky little brothers. Reprising their roles are: Ashley Tisdale as Candace Flynn; Vincent Martella as Phineas Flynn; Caroline Rhea as their mom, Linda; Dee Bradley Baker as Perry the Platypus; Alyson Stoner as Isabella; Maulik Pancholy as Baljeet; Bobby Gaylor as Buford; Olivia Olson as Vanessa; Tyler Mann as Carl; and Povenmire and Marsh as Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz and Major Monogram, respectively. David Errigo Jr. joins the cast as Ferb Flynn. When: Year One
Stargirl - Based on the critically-acclaimed New York Times best-selling Young Adult novel of the same name, this teen coming-of-age story is about Leo Borlock (Graham Verchere), an average sixteen-year-old who is content to fly under the radar until an offbeat and unconventional new student named Stargirl (Grace VanderWaal) shows up at his high school, turning his and everyone else’s world upside down, forever changing the way they see themselves and each other. When: Year One
Timmy Failure - Based on the book “Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made” by Stephan Pastis from the beloved illustrated book series of the same name Timmy Failure is helmed by Academy Award-winning director Tom McCarthy with a screenplay by McCarthy & Pastis, and tells the story of Timmy, our quirky, deadpan hero, who along with his 1,500 pound polar bear partner, Total, operates TOTAL FAILURE INC., a world-class detective agency (at least in Timmy’s mind anyway). When: Year One
Togo - Based on a true-life adventure in the Alaskan tundra, this story takes place in 1925, when an epidemic of diphtheria breaks out in a remote Alaskan town, causing countless children to fall gravely ill. The necessary antitoxin is hundreds of miles away, across treacherous terrain with a massive storm on the horizon. As the crisis grows more desperate, the village leaders realize their only hope lies with one man – Leonhard Seppala (Willem Dafoe) and his lead sled dog, Togo. When: Year One
Disney+ - Library films
101 Dalmatians A Bug’s Life A Goofy Movie An Extremely Goofy Movie Bambi Bao Big Hero 6 Born in China Cars Fantasia Finding Dory Finding Nemo Free Solo Frozen Fun and Fancy Free Hercules High School Musical Honey I Shrunk the Kids Inside Out Iron Man Lady and the Tramp Lilo & Stitch Mary Poppins Mickey, Donald, Goofy: The Three Musketeers Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmas Moana Monsters University Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl Pixar Short Films Collection Vol 1 Ratatouille Remember the Titans Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Sleeping Beauty Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace Star Wars: Episode II: Attack of the Clones Star Wars: Episode III: Revenge of the Sith Star Wars: Episode IV: A New Hope Star Wars: Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back Star Wars: Episode VI: Return of the Jedi Star Wars: Episode VII: The Force Awakens Star Wars: The Clone Wars (animated series) Steamboat Willie The Good Dinosaur The Incredibles The Little Mermaid The Parent Trap (1961) The Prince & The Pauper (1990) The Princess Diaries The Rocketeer The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (short) The Sword in the Stone The Three Caballeros Thor: The Dark World Toy Story Tron (1982) Up Wall-E Zootopia
Disney+ - Library TV series
Amazing Planet Andi Mack (seasons one-three) Boy Meets World Brain Games Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan Dr. K’s Exotic Animals Dr. Oakley Yukon Vet Drain the Ocean DuckTales (1987) DuckTales (2016, season one) Earth Live Goof Troop Great Migrations Howie Mandel’s Animals Doing Things Kim Possible Malcolm in the Middle Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy (animated series) Marvel’s Ultimate Spider-Man (animated series) Mickey and the Roadster Racers (seasons one and two) Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Mickey Mouse Shorts One Strange Rock Raven’s Home Rocky Mountain Animal Rescue Star Wars Rebels Star Wars: The Clone Wars (series) That’s So Raven The Incredible Dr. Pol The Simpsons Unlikely Animal Friends Wicked Tuna
How to watch Disney+
Unlike Apple and Amazon, Disney does not own and operate a TV platform so the company must partner with platform owners to reach viewers. The company is promising wide distribution.
At launch, Disney+ will be available via apps for Apple TV (tvOS), Android TV, Chromecast, Roku, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, FireTV, Samsung Tizen TVs, LG webOS TVs, Android (mobile), iOS, and web browsers. In addition, Disney+ will be available from within the Apple TV app, making content available from the same user interface as Apple TV+ content, iTunes movies, and other services such as HBO.
This covers most major platforms but not all of them. Notable exceptions include PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Vizio's TV platform, Panasonic's TV platform, and many legacy streaming devices.
A Disney+ account can have up to 7 user profiles and viewers can select from 200 icons spanning Disney, Pixar, Star Wars, and Marvel. You can also create kids' profiles with limited access. 4 simultaneous streams are allowed.
Disney says that its ambition is for Disney+ to be available almost globally within the next two years. It expects to have between 60-90 million subscribers by 2024. The company has also committed to investing at least $1 billion in exclusive content for Disney+ in the first year of operation. Annual spending is expected to reach $2.5 billion in 2024. That is on top of Disney's huge investments in theatrical movies. For comparison, Netflix is spending $14-15 billions on content annually but that amount also covers licensed shows and movies.
Disney+ apps, picture & audio
Disney+ is built on technology from BAMTech that Disney has acquired a major stake in. Like Netflix, it uses adaptive streaming to automatically adjust picture and audio quality to your device's capabilities as well as your internet connection.
Disney+ supports video streaming in up to 4K Dolby Vision HDR and up to Dolby Atmos object-based audio, if you own the right equipment. Unlike Netflix, Disney will not be charging more for its highest streaming quality.
Subtitles are available in local languages.
Movies and TV shows are available to download for offline viewing on mobile devices. There are no limits to how much content you can download (other than the limits set by your device's storage capacity) but a maximum of 10 mobile devices can be used for downloading content, according to the company's support documents.
How do you get started? Just download the Disney+ app on a compatible platform or device, or sign up on disneyplus.com.
- Disney+ launches on November 12, 2019, in the US, Canada and Netherlands, and one week later in Australia and New Zealand. On March 31, 2020, Disney+ is coming to the UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain and other countries in Western Europe. It will roll out in Eastern Europe and Latin America from late 2020.
- Apps are available for Apple TV (tvOS), Android TV, Chromecast, Roku, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Fire TV, Samsung Tizen, LG webOS, Android (mobile), iOS and web browsers. Disney+ will also be available from within the Apple TV app.
- Content streams in up to 4K Dolby Vision HDR and Dolby Atmos audio.
- 4 simultaneous streams and no limits on device pairing.
- It supports downloads for offline viewing on mobile devices (on up to 10 devices)
- Subtitles in local languages.
- Disney+ is ad-free